Sen. Pryor: Obamacare needs 'fixes,' not repeal

story by Ryan Saylor

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who last week found an opponent in Republican freshman U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, said on Tuesday night (Aug. 13) that he has not received backlash from his assertion last week that the Affordable Care Act is creating jobs.

In defending his statements made Aug. 8 to the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Pryor cited a RAND study that touts the economic boost the state could receive from the ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare. In the chamber speech, Pryor referred to a Rand study saying the new health care law would create more than 6,000 jobs in Arkansas.

The study Pryor cites said about 6,200 hundred new jobs would be created "by economic growth stemming from insurance expansion."

Pryor also said the job creation would be new positions created by by private business through larger customer bases associated with Rand's estimated additional 401,000 insured Arkansans and businesses that are taking some sort of government funding or subsidy tied to the affordable care act.

"My guess is it's going to be a mix of a little bit of everything. You're probably going to see more jobs in healthcare because there's going to be more healthcare available to people. More people will have insurance. About 500,000 Arkansans will have insurance as a result of this. That's huge, if you think about it. That's one sixth of our population. One out of six people will have private insurance for healthcare that don't have it today. I'm assuming as part of that, you'll see more people working in different aspects of healthcare, there's going to be more paying customers in healthcare. Also, you need to remember that there's a lot of tax credits in this law for individuals and families and small businesses and they will get tax credits for themselves and people in their company to help afford health insurance."

The same Rand study Pryor quotes does claim $550 million in net economic growth, though the study says that the growth is "accounting for subsidies, Medicaid expansion, taxes, and Medicare cuts." The study also claims that the that the calculations are projections to "reflect likely conditions in 2016, given a fully implemented Affordable Care Act."

Pryor's doubling down on the Affordable Care Act comes even as polls show Arkansans overwhelmingly against the law.

In a poll conducted last year by Talk Business, 58% of likely voters contacted said opponents of the law should continue attempts to block it. Another 46.5% said they were against an expansion of Medicaid in Arkansas, which eventually was passed by the state legislature and has become known as the "private option."

Even with public opinion possibly not on his side, Pryor said he would still back the law, especially now that the act is the law of the land.

"I don't know that I'd say I'm doubling down, but it is the law of the land, it went to the U.S. Supreme Court. They decided it. The House has now tried to repeal it 40 times. They're not going to repeal it, it's just not going to happen. At some point, you have to decide, OK. Are we going to continue beating our head against a wall or are we going to try to make this law work better?" he asked. "And I'll be the first to tell you, this law is far from perfect. It's not perfect. It's needs some fixes. I've lead the charge on some of those and I'll continue to do that on some of those changes, as well. You know, it's a work in progress and healthcare is very, very complicated. There's no doubt that it is a big and complicated piece of legislation and probably if you get say 80% of it right, then you've done something."


Pryor, who was in Fort Smith for a speech to the Military Officers Association of America meeting in Fort Smith, said he would continue working with his colleagues in the Senate to fix what he called the "other 20%."

"That's one of the differences between my opponent and me. He wants to repeal, repeal, repeal. He's not offering any kind of solution to make health care more affordable, more accessible. He's not trying to get health care out in rural America. He's not trying to help poor people with health care. All he's trying to do is repeal, repeal, repeal."

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Repeal/Fix ??

Senator Pryor, if Obamacare is good enough for the common people out here in fly over country then why did you support the fix for yourself and your staff? What? Are you and your counterparts and your staff somehow "better" then those of us who pay your salary and benefits and virtually pay for your every little desire that comes to your mind? Just how is it that the tax paying public is somehow less than human in your mind and we are somehow the designated supporters of the massive federal government that you support with every vote you cast. However, we the voters can't really blame you and you Liberal friends for any of what is going on becasue we put you there to begin with and gave you far to much power over our lives. I suggest the worst part is that we continue to do the same thing over and over and expect you and your Liberal friends to somehow change and become ""patroits"" and start really caring about the most awesome country on the planet the "United States of America" and start protecting the people from outside and inside enemies. The worst enemy we the people have right now is all those people on both sides of the isles who are without any doubt the most dishonest people on the planet at the moment and every law maker on capital hill (including you) is interested in one thing and that is keeping your jobs. Mr Pryor, I am ashamed that I have voted for you in the past and rest assured it won't happen again. We here in Arkansas have watched while you stood by and let people like Harry Reed tell you what you are ""gonna do"" as opposed to your getting a backbone and doing the right thing to protect the people who are working like animals and paying ungodly taxes to give you the privledges you current have. I suggest that you do not have a backbone (much like many others on both side of the isle) and have made every effort to remain very quiet in the background and cooperative with your Liberal friends to make sure you toe the line or they might take away your gym privledges. Now, you come back home on our dime and start trying to convince the good people of Arkansas just how wonderful you really are and how we should find ourselves so lucky that you have your job and send you back to continue on the same path helping your friends Harry, Nancy, and Obama, to destroy this great country while trying to somehow convince all of us, that what is really good for all us "common folks" somehow isn't good enough for all you "elites" in Washington. I believe that "we the people" need to wise up and clean out the trash in both houses of congress and start with a fresh bunch of liars and it would at least give us a couple of years of freedom and liberty which I think was the intent to begin with. RD

Oh boy, just 15 more months of this!

Awesome! Let's just cut through the spin, slant, bias, bulls**t and mudslinging and ask the real question -- who do the business interests support? Typically that's who wins. Cotton has an *R* by his name and mentions his hatred for the president in every calculated sentence, which is a popular and lucrative strategy across the Solid South. He seems to strongly dislike every tax and regulation on the books, another win with the locals. But then things start to get murky. He also seems to greatly dislike the social safety net on which a large number of Arkansans rely to make ends meet, but that didn't stop him from winning the dirt poor 4th District, so we're still okay. But he also seems to dislike disaster aid and pretty much all government spending. So where does that leave some of our biggest employers such as HMA, Mercy and Golden Living who need patients with subsidized medical coverage? Who will the chamber beg for money to build new port facilities, improve airports, deepen the Arkansas River channel and build I-49? Just let Boozman and Womack do the heavy lifting while Cotton sits back and demagogues on his ideological perch? Maybe we'll find out in the next 15 months, or maybe just more ObamaScare stories.